For millions of couples, fulfilling their dream of having a child can be a long and difficult journey. They’ve often spent money and time early on in life trying not to get pregnant, only to learn that when they’re ready to start a family, it’s not as easy as they thought.
Infertility can be extremely stressful for individuals and couples and can often lead to feelings of frustration, guilt, and in some cases, depression.
One of the best ways to deal with these natural and normal feelings is to become educated about infertility and your treatment options. Whether you’re just beginning your fertility journey or have completed previous fertility treatment, it’s important to learn as much as you can to better understand your situation.
Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system that interferes with a couple’s ability to have a baby. Infertility can affect both men and women of all races and ethnicity.
For most people, the only sign of infertility is not being able to get pregnant. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, people should see a fertility specialist if:
It’s important to understand that infertility affects 15-20 percent of all couples and the majority of couples who undergo fertility treatment will become pregnant.
The first step in overcoming infertility is to learn what’s causing it. Normally, the steps in the initial diagnostic process take about one menstrual cycle – a month – to complete.
Your doctor will explain all important results from any testing you have done and describe your choices for treatment and chances of getting pregnant with each treatment option.
Treatment options may include:
Couples are often concerned about being pushed into aggressive and expensive IVF treatment cycles right away, when in fact the majority of people try less costly and invasive options first and never end up needing IVF. You may also be able to start the treatment option of your choice with the very next menstrual cycle following testing.
Every person’s situation is unique. Don’t hesitate to see a reproductive endocrinologist; they’re your best support in the journey to successful pregnancy.
If you’re interested, more information about infertility is available in this FAQ.